Friday, June 23, 2017

June 23--Day 11--A Little Side Trip

After a great night's sleep, I woke up, got dressed, and waited for the rest of the house to wake up. Jennifer was up with the littles, Declan and Delancey not long after me. We had breakfast of oatmeal, then I packed up the rest of my stuff. I wanted to get a photo of all the kids and Jennifer, so she rousted the girls out of bed.

Part of the family--Makenzie, Marcail, Jennifer holding Delancey, Declan, Hope, Myka, and Ellyn



After many goodbyes and hugs (from Hope), I was on the road. About 10 miles, and about 2 miles off route was the historic community of Bishop Hill. 


Back in 1846, a Swede by the name of Eric Janson, and more than 1000 of his followers fled Sweden to seek religious freedom from oppression in America. They purchased property in what was then the western wilderness of Illinois. The first winter they lived in dugouts along the creek. Cholera claimed the lives of many of them. They soon built a church, large dormitories for housing, a bakery, a school, and several other buildings. They made brooms, buggies, and woven rugs for income. They farmed the surrounding land, and shared the wealth of their endeavors. It was a communal colony. 


Eric Janson fell out of favor, and ended up being murdered in the Henry County Courthouse in 1850. From then, the colony was managed by a board of trustees until it was eventually dissolved, and the holdings were divided among the members with women and children also receiving shares of property (unusual in the 1960s).


Bishop Hill became a hub for thousands of Swedish immigrants. As time went on, many of the colony buildings were falling apart. Several groups stepped up to save the buildings. Today the town is a living fully functional town. What makes it unique is that the entire town is a registered national historic landmark. The residents still farm the surrounding land. The crafts and trades are still a source of income for the residents.


I rode around the town visiting a few of the buildings (the bakery, of course!), and took pictures of others. There were a few tourists, but the town was pretty quiet. I spent about an hour wandering around, then headed back to the route. I had a piece of Dutch apple pie and ice cream because, well, it's never too early for pie and ice cream!

The Steeple Building

The store

The school

The Bakery

The Church



Inspired by yesterday's farm road riding, I noticed a road on my map that would take me back to the route, but not the way I came. It was a narrow farm road with very little traffic. I ended up back on the route just where I expected to.


I didn't ride through many towns, just Bradford. There I stopped at the Casey's and got a Gatorade. While in Bradford, I called the police in Henry, my destination or the night, to let them know I would be camping in the city park. I still had over 20 miles to go, and I figured they would be closed by the time I got there (like in Cascade). Turns out the gal told me someone will always answer that phone, so I needn't have worried. 


Most of the ride today was through the ever present corn and soybean fields. But, as I was rolling along, I glanced to my right and saw something different...wheat! I stopped to take a picture because, ride for days and see only corn and soybeans, soybeans and corn (and then more corn). Wheat was new! Okay, I'll admit it's not THAT exciting. I'm sure I'll see more.




I finally reached the outskirts of Henry. A guy rode up behind me. We rode the rest of the way into town. I saw the park and told him this was where I was staying. We chatted for awhile. His name was Dennis, and he was out for a day ride. Eventually he told me the park we were at was not the park I was supposed to be at. He showed me the way to the Waterworks Park. That's where I was supposed to be. There's a pool next door for showers (a rather interesting shower where you have to pull really hard on a chain, and the water comes from way above your head. Kind of tricky to keep the chain pulled and wash, but I managed. 


Waterworks Park is situated along the Illinois River. There have been numerous people driving by on the road along the river. I've seen this one distinctive van drive by at least three times. There's also a couple of guys fishing. I saw one of them catch and release a pretty good size fish. The other guy has a fish on too. He just caught a 23" 3lb catfish!

Illinois River (I'll cross that bridge tomorrow)



Now I think I'll go catch me some lightening bugs!



Total miles today: 66

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